CategoriesEducational Folklore Pagan

Imbolc

Hello and welcome to this fortnight’s blog. On the 1st February we celebrated Imbolc here at Quest and we’ve been doing a little research on this fabulous festival and thought we’d share it with you. So let’s find out more.

What is Imbolc?

The word ‘Imbolc’ is derived from an old Irish word ‘Imbolg’, which translates to ‘in the navel’. It refers to the signs of life beginning to emerge from the womb of Mother Earth herself. Imbolc begins at sunset on the 1st of February and continues through to sunset on 2nd of February. It marks the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Quite literally we are 6 weeks through the winter, with just 6 weeks left until spring arrives. Rooted in ancient Celtic traditions, Imbolc, is a wonderful time to welcome the first signs of spring, honour the Goddess Brigid, and embrace the light returning.

Who is Goddess Brigid?

Brigid, often referred to as the Celtic Goddess Brigid, is a deity with deep roots in Celtic mythology and spirituality. She holds a prominent place in the folklore and religious practices of various Celtic cultures. Brigid is commonly associated with fire, poetry, healing, fertility, and craftsmanship. Although of Celtic origin, her influence can be seen in both pagan and modern spiritual practices. In fact, Imbolc itself, is sometimes referred to as Brigid’s Day or St Brigid’s Day in her honour. It serves as a time to honor and invoke her blessings for inspiration, creativity, and protection.

Rituals & Traditions

Imbolc is a time of purification and preparation for the coming spring. Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the festival with a variety of rituals and traditions, each highlighting the themes of renewal and light. Some common practices include:

  • Lamp Lighting – Fire plays a significant role in Imbolc celebrations. Lighting lamps or candles around the home at sunset symbolises the return of the sun and the growing strength of its light. Many choose to place candles in every room of their homes to banish winter’s darkness and welcome the increasing daylight.
  • Brigid’s Crosses – Creating Brigid’s crosses is a traditional craft associated with Imbolc. Crosses are made from rushes or other natural materials, and symbolise protection. They are often hung above doorways to ward off negativity and invite Brigid’s blessings into the home.
  • Feasting – Sharing a meal is a central aspect of Imbolc celebrations, fostering a sense of community and unity.
  • Nature Walks – Connecting with the natural world is essential during Imbolc. Taking nature walks to observe the first signs of spring – budding flowers, emerging shoots, and the returning song of birds – allows individuals to attune themselves to the cycles of the Earth and express gratitude for the coming season.

We love the idea of lamp lighting to welcome the return of the sun. Did anyone see the Sunset on 1st February 2024? It was stunning!

Winter Wisdom

Along with the rituals and traditions listed above, Imbolc is also a time of reflection for the soul. So why not spend a little time over the days surrounding Imbolc to reflect on your growth through the winter. Here are some suggested journalling prompts:

What have you learnt? How have you grown? Is there anything you wish to leave behind, as you emerge from your winter hibernation? Now, reflecting upon the lessons of winter, how do you see things changing for you in the weeks and months ahead? Do you see yourself doing things any differently? If so, why? What is it you want to achieve this year? What are your hopes and dreams?

Take time over the coming weeks, to nurture the spring seeds of hope you have planted for yourself. Create yourself a plan, and figure out how you are going to bring them to fruition when the time is right. Our beautiful Tree of Life box would make the perfect place for your spring wishes.

So as we begin to emerge from the depths of winter, Imbolc offers us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the returning light, honour the goddess Brigid, and embrace the promise of new beginnings. We hope it’s inspired you, and helped to lift the January fog. It’s certainly excited us here at Quest!

We’ve Got You Covered

As always, we’ve got plenty of amazing products available in store and online to help you on your spiritual journey. So if Imbolc, resonates with you, take a look at some of the products we have below.

CategoriesEducational Folklore Pagan

Wassailing Wonders

Hey, magical souls! 🌟✨ It’s that enchanting time of the year again when we gather around the hearth, mug in hand, ready to embrace the warmth of tradition and the chill of winter. Today, we’re delving into the heart of the pagan festivities with a cup of Wassail in hand, celebrating the age-old tradition of Wassailing!

What is Wassailing?

First things first, what in the cauldron is Wassailing? Well, buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey back in time, to a magical era where apple orchards were more than just a place for a Sunday stroll.

Wassailing, rooted in ancient Pagan and Saxon customs, is a lively celebration that marks the awakening of the fruit trees from their winter slumber. Think of it as a boozy, joyous pep talk for the apple trees, ensuring a fruitful harvest in the coming year. The word “Wassail” itself is a hearty medieval greeting meaning “be in good health” or “cheers,” which perfectly sets the tone for this festive occasion. 

The Recipe for Wassail Wonder

Now, onto the star of the show – the Wassail itself! Imagine a steaming cauldron filled with a delightful concoction of spiced ale, apple cider, and spirits. It’s the kind of brew that warms not just your body but your spirit too. 

If you want to create your own delicious brew, you can be as creative as you wish with your Wassail recipe – toss in cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, and maybe a dash of honey for that extra touch of magic. You can almost smell delicious aroma now can’t you! 

Is it just us, or can you too, feel the ancient spirits of the orchard joining the celebration? Put simply, Wassail is a magical blend of tradition and taste, and the perfect excuse to dust off that quirky mug you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Wassailing Rituals: Sing, Dance, and Be Merry!

Picture this: a moonlit orchard, trees standing like silent sentinels, and a lively group of Wassailers singing their hearts out. Wassailing involves a series of rituals, each as delightful as the next.

  1. The Apple Wassail Song: This is all about infusing the orchard with joyous energy. Tapping of tambourines, pots and pans, or Wassailers simply tapping their feet to the rhythm of the traditional Apple Wassail Song: “Apple tree, apple tree, bear us some fruit, And if your branches can’t, we’ll give them a toot!”
  2. Toasting the Trees: Mugs are raised high in the air and a toast made to the health of the apple trees. Wassailers feeling the energy of the earth beneath their feet as they connect with the cycle of nature. This toast is not just a symbolic act; it’s an exchange of gratitude with the land – how beautiful is that?
  3. Offering to the Spirits: A portion of the Wassail drink is poured onto the roots of the apple trees as an offering to the spirits of the orchard. It’s a gesture of goodwill, a way of saying, “Thanks for the bounty, and here’s to more in the coming year!”

Creating Your Own Wassailing Wonderland

Now that you’re buzzing with Wassail wisdom, why not bring this magical tradition into your own space? Gather your coven, invite some friends, and turn your backyard into a mini orchard of wonder.

  1. 1. Deck the Halls: Adorn your space with fairy lights, candles, and a touch of greenery. Create a cosy nook where Wassailers can gather and share stories of winter’s past.
  2. 2. DIY Wassail Station: Set up a DIY Wassail station – spiced ale, apple cider, and an array of spices. Encourage everyone to mix their own brew, infusing it with their unique energy.
  3. 3. Sacred Sips: As you sip your Wassail, take a moment to connect with the energies around you. Feel the earth beneath you, the crisp winter air, and the camaraderie of kindred spirits.

If you’d prefer not to host, but would like to experinece the buzz of Wassailing, a quick Google and you’ll find lots of Wassailing events happening in Surrey as well as up and down the country.

Wassailing Wisdom for the Soul

In this age-old tradition, we find not just a celebration of the earth’s bounty, but a reminder of our deep connection to nature and the cycles of life. So, fellow seekers of magic, embrace the spirit of Wassailing with open hearts, mugs of Wassail held high, and a song on your lips. May your orchards be abundant, your spirits be merry, and your Wassail be downright enchanting. Cheers to winter’s wonders, and may the magic of Wassailing linger in your hearts throughout the seasons this year! 🍎🌙✨

Team Quest

We’ve Got You Covered

We have plenty of wonderful Pagan items available in store. So if Wassailing sounds a bit of you, do take a look at the items we have listed below.

Courses and Workshops

2024 is jam packed full of fabulous workshops and courses. With both, in person and online to choose from, there is something for everyone. To book, pop in or give us a call on 01372 878606.